New York - From almost every corner of the country and certainly in large cities like New York, Chicago, and Miami, the word is that the number of poor Jews who cannot put food on the table soared this holiday season. Organizations like Met Council on Jewish Poverty, Keren Aniyim and Masbia (network of kosher soup kitchens) report record demand for food, including an increasing number of younger families. Mesamche Lev, an organization that helps widows and orphans in Israel and in the US, reports record demand for such items as shoes on the eve of the current holidays. The kosher food industry has risen to the challenge, making significant contributions of food or offering discounts for large orders. Like Met Council, Mesamche Lev will be at the upcoming Kosherfest to make its case for even more assistance from the industry. “Strikingly,” said one of the leaders of the anti-poverty organizations, “poverty can hit like a bombshell. All it takes is a death or illness of a breadwinner.” That’s what happened to the Simon family when their father and husband suddenly was diagnosed with a disease that limited his abilities to generate income. They not only could not pay their mortgage but could not buy any meat or poultry for the holiday.